Can the MINI Aceman EV shake up the urban SUV market? [Update]

  • MINI Paceman's spiritual successor with a more practical, four-door body
  • Designed from the ground up as an EV, based on a dedicated EV platform for max space & efficiency
  • Expected to be launched in the U.S. in early 2025 at under USD 40,000
  • Could deliver an EPA-est. range of 200-225 miles

Update: ‘Interior’ and ‘Production & Release Date’ sections and ‘Variants’ sub-section of ‘Specifications’ updated.

The MINI Paceman unveiled in 2012 found the going tough due to the decline of two-door models in the global market. Sales of the Paceman never really picked up, so it was discontinued in 2017.

Fans of the MINI Sports Activity Coupe would be thrilled to hear that the nameplate is coming back to the market, this time with proper doors, a pure-electric powertrain, and without a ‘P’! Here’s everything we know about the MINI Aceman (codename: MINI J05).

Design

There’s a lot that we know about the Aceman’s design already. MINI revealed a concept version of the future model in July 2022, and later, videos of test prototypes offered a fair understanding of the changes in the production version. Our rendering (below) provides a good look at what you can expect in the model heading to your local MINI dealer in 2025.

2024 MINI Aceman Electric rendering
The Aceman should get its concept version’s polygonal headlamps that mark a clear departure from MINI’s classic design theme. The unusual motif of the wheel arches and chunky alloy wheels would give it a tough and rugged styling on the sides.

The MINI Aceman will embody the brand’s new design language – “Charismatic Simplicity.” It will look unmistakably MINI, but feel sharper, bolder, and more assertive than the Paceman.

Although the Aceman will have regular doors instead of the old double doors, it should look just as sporty as the Paceman. Expect a similar coupe-style profile with a greenhouse tapered towards the rear and a steeply raked back glass. The Aceman would avoid using MINI’s hallmark circular headlamps and feature more aggressively designed, edgy headlamps. Spy images have shown the production version’s headlamps including angular DRLs similar to those of the concept.

The tail lamps, too, would be completely new, stacked vertically to be more in line with the crossover body style and provide a striking contrast to clear, horizontal surfaces at the rear. Both may feature matrix LED lighting technology, allowing for varied lighting scenarios as required in the situation.

MINI Aceman rear three quarter
The MINI Aceman will be a proper four-door small crossover. Image Source: BMW Group

A large hexagonal grille would dominate most of the front-end, and it would be completely closed. A compact grille in the lower section would suffice the cooling needs. Flush door handles and clean surfaces would give the crossover minimalist styling on the sides.

On the other hand, strongly contoured and generously proportioned wheel arches featuring flat and geometrically modeled surfaces, 20-inch alloy wheels in a chunky (and aerodynamic) design, and a roof rack would create a contrasting look, clearly communicating the model’s overall adventurous character.

The closed hexagonal grille and flush door handles would help the Aceman achieve a good drag coefficient. Additionally, spy pictures have shown it would have a flattish, covered underbody, which would also contribute to aerodynamic efficiency. Aerodynamics play an even more important role in the case of EVs, as the driving range is generally much shorter than gas-powered models.

Interior

2024 MINI Cooper SE interior dashboard live image
The MINI Aceman will be available with a leather-free and fully vegan interior. New MINI Cooper shown for reference. Image Source: BMW Group

Following the tracks of the new MINI Cooper Electric, the interior of the production-spec MINI Aceman would carry a low-profile design with a sleek dashboard, compact center console, and a large circular OLED touchscreen called ‘MINI Interaction Unit.’ The steering wheel will be available in two- and three-spoke versions, with the latter featuring simply a textile strap as the third spoke.

MINI Interaction unit

The Aceman won’t feature a separate instrument cluster, giving the driver an unobstructed view of the road ahead. The core driving information will be displayed in the MINI Interaction Unit and projected on a head-up display. The MINI Interaction unit will display vehicle-related information such as speed and charging level in the upper area and present a full-screen speedometer on pressing the speed indicator. We expect it to be part of the standard equipment and the head-up display to be an optional feature.

Measuring 240 mm (9.4 in.) and running on MINI Operating System 9, the MINI Interaction Unit’s main job would be serving as the EV’s infotainment system. It will show multiple widgets on the sides and Navigation, Media, Phone, and Climate menus in the lower area. Operating the MINI Interaction Unit will be as easy as using a smartphone.

2024 MINI Cooper SE dashboard driver side live image
We expect three-spoke steering to be optional in the MINI Aceman. New MINI Cooper shown for reference. Image Source: BMW Group

Interior camera

One of the many optional features of the electric crossover would be an interior camera that automatically captures pictures of anyone who breaks into the vehicle. This camera would also allow customers to check if they’ve left something behind in the vehicle, and click selfies with other occupants.

MINI Experience modes

We expect the Aceman to have up to eight MINI Experience Modes: Core, Green, Timeless, Balance, Vivid, Go-Kart, Trail, and Personal. According to the mode selected, a matching artificial driving sound would play through the speakers and an optional MINI projector on the back of the OLED display would project matching color schemes and patterns on the dashboard. The ambient lighting under the dashboard and in the door mirror would also be color-coded to match the projections of the MINI projector or, in the Vivid mode, be based on the album cover of the music that’s currently playing.

Controls

A signature toggle bar will be located below the OLED touchscreen, integrating the parking brake, gear selector, start/stop key, MINI Experience Mode selector, and volume control. With the core driving functions placed in the toggle bar, the center console will offer extra storage space.

MINI Countryman Electric SE ALL4 toggle switches
The MINI Aceman will have the signature toggle bar, but in a new version reinterpreted for EVs. Next-gen MINI Cooper shown for reference. Image Source: BMW Group

New materials

MINI will offer leather-free and fully vegan interior surface materials in the Aceman. Future MINI models will see the usage of sustainable alternatives to leather. Parent company BMW Group says leather-free surfaces reduce CO2 emissions by 85%. It is considering switching to Mirum (100% bio-based and petroleum-free), Deserttex (made from pulverized cactus fibers with a bio-based polyurethane matrix), and other innovative alternative materials that are completely vegan for both BMW and MINI models.

Sustainability measures might not be limited just to the interior. For example, MINI could also use alloy wheels made from 100% recycled aluminum. The company introduced such wheels as proof of feasibility in the limited-production Cooper SE Convertible in February 2023 and said the aim of this pilot project is to gradually reduce dependence on primary raw materials, indicating other MINI models may also inherit 100% recycled aluminum wheels.

Specifications

Dimensions

The MINI Aceman will be based on the next-gen MINI Electric’s dedicated EV platform. Hence, it won’t have a transmission tunnel, which should allow a flat floor.

According to a report Auto Express released on March 8, 2023, the Aceman’s dimensions will be similar to the original Countryman. The latter, when introduced in 2010, was 161.7 in. long, 70.4 in. wide, and 61.5 in. tall. Thanks to its dedicated EV platform, its wheelbase will likely be much longer than the original Countryman’s 102.2 in.

Interior spy pictures suggest legroom (rear) could be could be decent but underthigh support (rear) might be average. Most American buyers may consider the bigger Countryman Electric as more suitable. That said, the windows and quarter glass panels appear to let in sufficient natural light.

Variants

MINI head Stefanie Wurst has told Auto Express that the Aceman will be a “gamified concept” and that the brand signature “go-kart feeling” will continue being the top priority for the company’s vehicles. So, the Aceman and other future MINI EVs should be fun to drive, despite the inherent limitations of electric cars. The British publication states three variants will be available: E, SE, and JCW.

Aceman E & Aceman SE

We think the Aceman E will be powered by a front-mounted motor that produces 135 kW and 290 Nm of torque, and get its juice from a 40.7 kWh battery pack. The Aceman SE should employ a punchier front motor that develops 160 kW and 330 Nm of torque and use a bigger, 54.2 kWh battery.

Both battery packs will likely support charging at up to 11 kW with alternating current. As for the maximum DC charging input, we think it will be 75 kW for the 40.7 kWh unit and 95 kW for the 54.2 kWh unit. However, we expect the 10-80% DC fast-charging time of both battery packs to be under 30 minutes. On a full charge, we think the Aceman will deliver a WLTP range of around 180 miles in the E variant and approximately 240 miles in the SE variant.

The range-focused SE variant will likely end up being the most popular choice among customers, especially in the U.S. We expect it to have an EPA-est. range rating of about 190 miles.

Aceman JCW & Aceman GT

According to a report CAR published on July 26, 2022, the Aceman JCW may have two motors, one at the front and one at the back, producing 282 horsepower. This report mentioned a fourth ‘GT’ variant as well, packing a 300+ hp dual-motor powertrain. It said that both these AWD variants won’t be available at launch. It’s safe to assume the JCW and GT variants would also have the 54.2 kWh battery pack.

Aspect2024 MINI Aceman Specification (Expected)
Length~162.0 in.
Width~70.5 in.
Height~61.5 in.
Power (E/SE/JCW/GT)~180 hp/~215 hp/282 hp/300+ hp
Battery Pack Capacity40.7 kWh/54.2 kWh
WLTP RangeUp to 250 miles
2024 MINI Aceman specifications (expected & reported figures)

Production & Release Date

Manufacturing of the MINI Aceman will take place initially in China and then also in the UK. Chinese production will be in the hands of the BMW Group-GWM JV plant, located in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province. In the UK, BMW Group will build the EV at the MINI Plant Oxford facility, starting in 2026.

According to a report Auto Express released on March 8, 2023, the MINI Aceman will debut in 2024 and go on sale in early 2025. We expect to see the first units in American showrooms later in 2025.

Video Source: YouTube/CarSpyMedia

Competitors & Price

As the next-gen 2023 MINI Countryman is climbing up a segment, it leaves enough space for MINI to launch a small crossover without the fear of cannibalization. The Aceman could be the perfect car for customers of the Cooper SE who want a raised seating position, added ground clearance, and rear doors. The 2024 MINI Aceman would challenge premium entry-level electric crossovers like the Mercedes EQA and the Smart #1. Positioned between the Cooper SE and the Countryman EV, the Aceman could be priced at around USD 40,000.

MINI announces all-electric future

MINI Paceman 2014
The Paceman was launched in 2012 as the coupe-styled variant of the Countryman. MINI hoped that the concept would tap additional market opportunities but the car had to be discontinued in about 5 years. Image Source: BMW Group

In 2021, MINI said that it will become an all-electric brand as early as the early 2030s. In October 2020, the brand had announced that its future core portfolio of all-electric vehicles will include the two-door Hatch, a new crossover model in the small car segment (now known to be the production version of the Aceman concept), and a MINI Countryman electric variant. MINI said the hatch and the two compact crossover models will have combustion engine options.

The BMW Group company has hinted that its future electric crossovers, unmistakably MINI, would each address a different segment with varying space and versatility. All products in its future lineup would, however, “continue to be a typical MINI” with the highest interior space, exciting drive, and individuality within the smallest footprint among competitors.

TopElectricSUV says

The MINI Aceman will woo customers with a more practical body style and dimensions, addressing the two main shortcomings of the original sub-compact crossover. Plus, being an EV, it will be cheaper to run. With a leather-free and vegan interior, flat floor, zero-emission powertrain, and sustainable production, this looks like a perfect little urban runabout for the environment-conscious. For the small segment of diehard Paceman fans, MINI’s two-door crossover isn’t coming back, and this is as close as it’ll ever get!

Featured Image: TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the MINI Aceman Electric.